December 24, 2012
Alex Maier has been on the come up for a while. Earlier this year we did an interview with him for our blog and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He has made some pretty big moves since the last interview so I thought it would be great to touch base and get an update on what he has been up to.
He recently accepted a Creative Director position at Haberdash, a brick and mortar menswear store located in the heart of Chicago. His blog, SuperDanger.us, has been getting a lot of buzz and continues to gain traction by the week. Alex spoke about how he accidentally fell into the fashion industry, his background in music, and how he prefers booze over a typical office place.
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Name: Alexander Maier
Occupation: Creative Director
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Current Residence: Chicago, IL
Please tell us a little about your journey to into fashion.
I fell into the fashion industry by accident. I moved to NYC in the hopes of working in the music industry as a songwriter/composer. After being rejected from about 20 internships (no joke, 20) I decided to try my hand at styling. I had been blogging about my style regularly since I moved to NYC and had some connections at a commercial photography studio.
After getting my foot in the door and taking my blog a little more seriously, I was afforded the opportunity to cover New York Fashion Week for Tumblr and Milk Studios.
When I moved back to Chicago I was taking every opportunity that came my way. One week I was playing at SXSW, the next I produced a folk album in St. Louis, and the following week I styled a music video in Virginia. I was trying to be open to as many creative opportunities as possible. Even if there was no pay. Even if I came out in the negative. More often than not, I was in the negative.
I knew I needed to learn more. I didn’t know what job I was working towards, but I wanted to put myself in situations where I needed to draw upon my creativity quickly.
After hopping back and forth across the US, Haberdash offered me the position of Creative Director. I don’t think I need to say how lucky I am.
How do you balance out certain trends in the fashion industry that you may not personally be into, but have to for work/clients?
Fortunately, I do not run into this situation often. One thing I have to remind myself, is that its not about what I want. It is 100% about what the client wants. Breaking that simple rule is how creatives stay unemployed.
There are times for your personal work when you don’t have to compromise. And there are times when you use your creative mind to solve a problem, sometimes that involves leading a team, and other times following someone’s direction. Then there are times when you just need to shut up and do your job.
What does your workspace look like?
It changes from day to day. Some days I am working on set. Other days, on location. Most days, a messy cramped desk.
Very often I read that its important to have a clean workspace. I am not a clean or organized person by nature so a clean space doesn’t necessarily help me.
Seems like your work has you on location for a lot of photo shoots; is not being tied to a desk 9-5 good for your creative soul?
I love it. I hate routine. I hate monotony. and I hate offices. Copy machines, phones ringing, people’s smelly lunches. I can’t stand it.
The best part of my week is when I get to shoot off set, scout locations, or conceptualize new editorial ideas.
Everyone is different though. Some people need offices to create, some people need music. Some people need booze. Most people need booze. Actually, I need booze right now.
What creative hurdles do you have to overcome in your line of work?
1. Short timelines. a short turnaround on imagery can lead to stressful situations. Often I’ll have less than an hour to prop something, style something, shoot it, edit it, and present it to the CEO.
2. Keeping relevant. Trying to keep the imagery fresh and not repetitive is difficult. I mean, a blazer is a blazer. So how do you present a new blazer while not sounding or looking like a jerk? Most customers are smart and can tell when they are being marketed/sold to.
3. Myself. sometimes I get too wrapped up in the process. I have a hard time concentrating and even harder time finishing my tasks.
Sleep helps, but I don’t get to sleep. So coffee is the next best thing.
Please describe your creative process in ten words or less.
“get it done, present it, trash it, do it again.”
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